www.Hypersmash.com Beating Lyme: februari 2015

zondag 8 februari 2015

How I gave up diet soda and why you should do the same

For 10 years I was dependent on diet soda. My drug of choice was diet coke (a.k.a coca-cola light). At an absolute minimum I would need a can a day. If I didn't have this I couldn't function. But usually I had way more than a single can. I would often buy 1.5 liter bottles and go through the whole lot in a couple of hours.

During the early years in my recovery from Lyme disease I knew that I should give up diet coke. However my consumption actually increased. It was my crutch. I was trying to work full-time whilst sleeping 2-3 hours per night. Whenever I had to give a presentation or attend an important meeting I didn't feel like I could function unless I had a diet coke beforehand.

Then one day I stopped. I had done this many times in the previous years but this time it was different.

It was still hard. The cravings were super strong. But I stuck with it. And eventually I got through the day. Then the next day. Then the next. It's now been 9 months since I had a diet coke (or any other fizzy drink). There are still times, particularly after a terrible night's sleep, when I hesitate whilst walking past a vending machine. But so far I haven't weakened and I'm determined to keep it that way.

5 reason I gave up
These 5 reasons below were the reasons I gave up diet-sodas and are what I focus on to stay strong if I'm experiencing cravings. Most of the reasons are really referring to aspartame, the artificial sweetener in diet coke and many other diet sodas.

1 - It's toxic
The initial reason I switched to diet coke back in 2004 was that I was seduced by it's message of zero sugar and zero calories. It seemed a drink I could enjoy guilt free. On the contrary there are many health issues linked to aspartame consumption. To confuse matters, some of the studies that have been undertaken on aspartame show it to be safe. However there are often conflicts of interest issues behind many of these studies.

2 - It can prevent recovery from Lyme disease
It's reported that aspartame consumption can cause relapses in Lyme disease and lock the Lyme bacteria into the body.

3 - It can makes you fatter
Some studies have shown that aspartame can increase insulin and leptin levels, which can lead to obesity and diabetes. The fact that it has 0 calories does not mean it'll help you lose weight.

4 - It's expensive
I was probably spending close to 600 euros a year on diet coke. Plus often when I bought a diet coke, I bought something to eat from the vending machine. So in effect I was spending close to 1000 euros a year to make myself fatter and sicker.

5 - I feel much better without it
Once I made it through the first week I started feeling much better. I could sleep better. I didn't go through a huge dip every day at work. My brain fog lifted.

How did I quit?

- I focused on the reasons above to keep in the front of my mind why I was stopping.

- I found a substitute (green smoothies) that gave me a lift without the bad side effects.

- I focused on getting through one day at a time.

- I drunk more water
Often I had diet coke when I was thirsty. I found that if a craving for diet coke reared it's ugly head I could defeat it by drinking water.

- I watched out for my weak spots

For me a weak spot was long car journeys where I used to use diet coke to keep me sharp. I swapped out diet coke for coffee and also pushed myself less when undertaking these journeys. If I was tired I would find a place to sleep rather than ignoring my body and pushing through it.

The first few days were the hardest. Once I made it through a week most of the cravings had gone. However occasional triggers (such as long car journeys) brought them back again. In these times I focus my attention on getting through the moment and not giving in.

In the months since I've given up diet coke my health is significantly better. It's impossible to isolate how much of this improvement is due to giving up diet coke as I've also made other changes in my diet and lifestyle. However feeling better and sleeping better are huge motivators to stay on track and aspartame free!

maandag 2 februari 2015

new beginnings with my blog

(I'll be running up the Eiffel tower on March 20th 2015)

I've been very slack at my blog the last few months.

I'm planning on turning that around in 2015 and devoting more time to blogging. I'm still busy with my Lyme journey and learning so if I can share that and possibly help someone else then that makes it worthwhile.

Health wise things have been going well for me. Last December I placed 4th overall at the dutch stair running champs and was the first old guy (40+). Recently I got selected to take part in the first ever Eiffel tower running race in March 2015. At almost 1700 steps that is far longer than the races I'm used to doing so I'm working hard on my fitness.

I'm still having trouble sleeping. Sometimes I have good periods, for a few days, a week or so. But then I also have periods where I'm only getting 2 or 3 hours of quality sleep a night. This only came on when I first got sick with Lyme disease 5 years ago. I've been numerous times to the doctor, sleep clinics, neurologists but their view is that this is not a lyme disease problem but something in my head. Unfortunately I hear many stories of people who are terribly sick with Lyme disease being told the same thing.

Luckily for me I can still function, and usually thrive, through lifestyle and nutrition choices.

Beating Lyme for me to all about being vigilant. It's about working out the strategies that work for you and making them habits. I fully appreciate that I am one of the lucky ones. Many people aren't diagnosed and some who are sick are probably too far gone to make a full recovery. However having said that I think the power of nutrition (especially fruits and vegetables) and lifestyle choices to heal is incredible and too many people give up before exploring all of these options.

I wish you all the best for 2015.